According to the government physics is a vital part of education and a subject they are keen to actively promote. It teaches kids about the world around them, from the macro world of astronomy and space to the everyday objects we see around us. Physics can also be a tricky, theoretical, subject for kids to master and it is recognised as one of the harder subjects to study at school. This can put kids off as they strive for the grades needed for college and they often opt for supposed ‘softer’ subjects in which they feel they can score higher marks. This is a shame and leads to kids missing out on a fascinating subject area.
Let’s get physical with physics
One of the best ways to get kids interested in physics is to show how things work in the world around them and get them to interact with that world. Electronics is a subject area that lends itself well to such an approach. Kids are well used to electronic devices and perhaps they are even more comfortable in operating many of them than their parents are. They are also far more likely to have the confidence to experiment with such devices and try to get them to change to operate more in the way they want.
An electronics starter kit is an excellent way to harness this innate curiosity, allowing kids to experiment and see the effect of their decisions on the way things operate. A good starter kit will guide the kids with some suggested projects, making sure that they have all the components and equipment needed to complete the task. They will also make sure that such projects are designed to introduce some concepts about electronics and physics. In no time at all the kids are having fun, without even realizing that they are learning.
Fascinating and fun projects – The Arduino?
The Arduino starter kit and corresponding accessories is a good example of what is possible. This kit has the components and instructions for 15 projects that will gradually have kids developing their understanding of electronics while having a great amount of fun. The projects are designed to be engaging and include tasks like the ‘Love-O-Meter’ to test how hot blooded they are. It also investigates the light spectrum with a ‘Colour Mixing Lamp’ that uses light to produce colour and a ‘Space Ship Interface’ to control galactic adventures. There are further fascinating projects such as a ‘Mood Cue’ to let others determine your mood and a touch responsive lamp. A ‘Light Theramin’ meanwhile, allows them to build a musical instrument that is controlled by movements.
All of these projects build confidence and understanding but, just as importantly, they build up curiosity and interest in the subject. Soon, kids will be moving on to design and create their own projects, increasing their knowledge as they go. To aid this, the starter kit also includes ‘Hacking Buttons’ to allow kids to create their own master controls for a host of devices. Such starter kits really are an excellent method of demystifying physics and giving kids a solid foundation of understanding that is built on real world experiments and a growing appreciation of the subject.